Spanish filmmaker Ivan Villamel takes you back to school with his pseudo-revenge short film ‘La Nueva’ or The Newcomer.
María (Amaia Sagasti) is the newest teacher to arrive at an old Catholic school. On her first day, she’s tasked with teaching a group of delinquent students during detention. Very quickly, an unexpected event turns the classroom into a living Hell.
It’s not hard to see the recipe for disaster: a meek, nervous first-time teacher, in a classroom full of sexist, disruptive teenage boys. Upon entering the classroom, it’s clear these boys are not going to give her an easy time. All except one student, who sits in the back of the class and simply studies his book. Leaving the room to take a much-needed breather from the disgusting ‘locker-room’ talk of the boys directed ate her, she accidentally crashes into a man carrying a box. In the collision, a Pazuzu-esque statue figure is broken, and whatever escapes from it takes a hold of María.
What follows is the deadliest pop quiz ever. One-by-one the boys are picked off through a serious of pretty simple anatomy questions.. too bad they didn’t study. It’s a glorious, bloody explosion all contained in one small classroom. The short’s kills are unique in that they are very specific, blown-up versions of real-life scenarios. All this is made all the more fun knowing this is the price paid for commenting on others’ bodies. A long-overdue lesson that, in this case, had to be learned the hard(est) way.
The film is a purging of rage. Showcasing the power of words, ‘La Nueva’ explores a dark fantasy of retribution and themes of gender and religion. In the past, possession and demons have been used as a way to allow the female body to ‘act out’ in a way, on screen; this is similar, however, in this case the demon brings its host power rather than rendering her powerless.
‘La Nueva’ is a bite-sized revenge story that’ll make you pick up your nearest anatomy textbook and study up.
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